Holding the silence long enough

What if the leader could hold the pregnant silence long enough for the Spirit to give birth to a word?

Gil Stafford.

I turn these words over in my mind.  What if the leader could hold the pregnant silence long enough for the Spirit to give birth to a word?  And I think of the times when others have sat with me.  Shared their pain with me, their confusion or their anger.  I think of those times when I have been ‘leader’ to them perhaps more than I have ever been Chloe.  Times when I have known that a word is expected, required even.  A pastoral word.  A word of encouragement or exhortation maybe.  And in those times I have given that word.  A word born of years in the Scriptures and soaking in the wisdom of the saints.  Sometimes even a word born of Spirit.

Not always a word born of Spirit.

Yes, not always a word born of Spirit.  For perhaps it has taken me long to discover that leadership could be different than I believed.  That it could be less about speaking and more about waiting.  Less about doing and more about carrying the silence.  Surely, through those conversations, I have been learning slowly to cherish this grace of waiting several moments, carrying the silence between us until the Spirit speaks.

But what of the longer waiting?  What of the pregnancy of silence which stretches weeks and then months?  What if I believe I know that in twelve months something fundamental will have changed – and yet I choose not to wrestle with how that change will unfold?  What if I could hold the silence long enough?

I struggle to articulate what it is that I think I know.  Cryptic as ever because of this thing that secrets can be a part of giving honour.  And because the truth is that I still don’t know fully yet what is to be known.  But this change which I think the Spirit has been hinting at in recent days could be huge for us.  And I want already to manage it.  To strategise it and project manage it.

Yet he says no.

He tells me that my part in this, the response which he calls out of me, is simply to be present to him first and him only.  And as I listen, as I wrestle with that, its truth settles deep inside me.  He will procure the change he desires.  Revelation has not been given that I might take over.  It is given that I might choose presence to him and absence to the need to control.

Perhaps it is even by the silence of presence to him that the pregnancy will progress.

And I turn those words over again in my mind.  What if I could hold the pregnant silence long enough for the Spirit to give birth to a word?  What if I could carry the pregnancy of this nascent knowing in silence?  What if I could choose to know and yet not to speak, not to seize the driver’s seat, until the One who knows fully gives birth to his word?

Harder, this.  Harder than the short moments of silence learned in conversations as leader.  Harder.

And yet, perhaps, the only way that the change will be Spirit-birthed.


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